Exiles chief Kennedy pleased with start as team get two from two
London Irish Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy insists his side must continue to improve following Saturday’s 36-12 bonus-point victory over Richmond.
The Exiles made it two wins on the bounce to ensure an unbeaten start to the season ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bedford Blues. And Kennedy, 34, who admits his outfit took their foot off the gas after the break, was ultimately satisfied with the win.
He told LITV: “I was very happy to get the win and I was pleased with the bonus-point as we look to keep our home form up for the season.
“There are a few areas we need to work on, and our intensity maybe dropped off a little bit in the second half, but we will address that during the week.
“There is still a lot of work for us to do in the build-up to next week’s game.”
Pinpointing the rolling maul as Irish’s key weapon, Kennedy added: “Our mauling was top notch and George Skivington works extremely hard with the boys – they have had a long preseason with lots of mauling sessions.
A brace from Blair Cowan coupled with further tries from Brendan McKibbin, Harry Elrington, Gerard Ellis and skipper for the day David Paice, secured maximum points for Nick Kennedy’s men.
The Exiles now gear-up for next weekend’s trip to Bedford Blues, who will be looking to record their first win of the season following defeats to Cornish Pirates and Jersey. But for now, Irish can take heed from their winning start as the feel good factor returns to the Exiles’ dressing room.
Irish went 14-0 up inside the first 15 minutes through Cowan and Paice, the rolling maul proving to be an effective tool for the hosts.
Former England hooker Paice touched down on seven minutes, before Cowan was driven over moments later. Tommy Bell continued his excellent ratio with the boot as he converted both scores.
Midway through the first half, Cowan crossed for his second try of the contest when Ross Neal unleashed the Scotland international on the overlap.
Bell’s touchline conversion drifted wide and Irish had the advantage at 19-0 going into the break. Keeping with the theme of the day, Irish picked up where they left off immediately after the interval with replacement hooker Ellis dotting down following yet another rolling maul to ensure the try bonus-point.
McKibbin was next to get in on the act, sprinting half the length of the field to slide over the whitewash after the ball bounced kindly for the Australian. Bell was unable to add the extras but Irish were in the ascendancy at 29-0.
Seemingly coasting to victory, Richmond refused to lie down and were dogged in their effort to breach the Exiles’ defensive line. Trailing 29-5, Richmond continued to ask questions of the Exiles’ rearguard and with the hour mark looming, the pressure told when Sebastien De Chaves was sin-binned for persistent infringement at the ruck.
From the resulting penalty, Richmond got clean ball at the line-out and open-side flanker Jack Allcock backed himself for the visitors’ second try of the afternoon. Four minutes from time, Irish had the final say when Academy product Elrington, who came on in the second half added try number six for Kennedy’s troops.
Bell made no mistake with the conversion to end the game 36-12.
LONDON IRISH Tries: David Paice, Blair Cowan (2), Gerard Ellis, Brendan McKibbin, Harry Elrington Conversions: Tommy Bell (3) Penalties: Sin-bins: Sebastien De Chaves Richmond: Sean Ohagan, Jack Allcock Conversions: O’Hagan Penalties: London Irish: 15 Greig Tonks (Ben Ransom, 40), 14 Ross Neal (Ben Ransom, 22, 30) 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Topsy Ojo, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Brendan McKibbin (Darren Allinson, 75), 1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Harry Elrington, 62), 2 David Paice (c) (Gerard Ellis, 24), 3 Ben Franks (Ollie Hoskins, 54), 4 George Robson (Jerry Sexton, 42, 54), 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 7 Blair Cowan (Max Northcote-Green, 62), 8 Ofisa Treviranus Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Jerry Sexton, 20 Max Northcote- Green, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Ben Ransom
RICHMOND: 15 Ross Jones-Davies (Rob Kirby, 80), 14 Charles Broughton (Jamie Gibbs, 70), 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Will Browne, 10 Sean O’Hagan, 9 Sam Stuart, 1 Timmy Walford (Jeremy Cunnew, 49), 2 Jason Phipps (Ross Grimstone, 54), 3 Rupert Harden (Ali Lyon, 67), 4 Tyler Hotson, 5 Matthew Corker (c), 6 Tom Sargeant (Harrison Edwards, 70), 7 Jack Allcock, 8 Chris Davies Replacements: 16 Ross Grimstone, 17 Jeremy Cunnew, 18 Harrison Edwards, 19 Jamie Gibbs, 20 Jonathan Woodward, 21 Rob Kirby, 22 Ali Lyon • London Irish’s next home game is against Ealing Trailfinders on Sunday 25th September (kick-off 3pm) with tickets available from £18 for Members and £20 for non-members.
Irish World is London Irish’s newest partner
The Irish World has been announced as the newest partner for the 2016/17 season. the Irish World, a longstanding supporter of the club, designs and prints The Exile, which is packed full of news, features and interviews for all Greene King IPA Championship and British and Irish Cup fixtures.
Irish World owner and publisher Paddy Cowan said: “All congratulations to London Irish on its winning start to the season. “
Here’s hoping they keep this form going and make an immediate return to the Aviva Premiership – but not before they give us some entertaining games on the way.
“I am delighted to be associated with London Irish under Mick Crossan’s skilful guidance. “It is a club steeped in history and tradition for many Irish people in this country.”
Bob Casey, London Irish Chief Executive said: “We are delighted with this sponsorship by the Irish World and are very much looking forward to a long and fruitful working relationship.